Suman Chandra's first solo, Silent Vision, explores coal mine landscapes
Suman’s immersive solo show will be dominated mostly by paintings apart from a few photographs, sculptures, installation and a display video
Of all things bright and beautiful, what deeply attracted budding artist Suman Chandra amidst nature are the dark deep crevices and barren beauty of the coal mine landscape. The initial curiosity around the land of mines offering endless opportunities and ancient tales led to a fascination so deep, that Suman’s debut solo exhibition, Silent Vision, starting tomorrow at CIMA, will display a range of riveting multimedia paintings reflecting his perception of the coal mine landscape, its people and their culture.
“Nature has always been my muse. Standing in front of an open stretch of land and sky awakens something within me. It might sound a bit philosophical but I can say that the adventure of finding out the inner truth of any situation drives my artistic pursuits,” says Suman, whose first brush with the coalfields was back in 2015 during a visit to Mugma colliery.
“Through all these years I turned from a silent observer to a researcher. I paint these visuals because I think they are strong enough to engage the viewers' minds and raise questions and curiosity alike. Most people have seen only flashes of these landscapes on their way on a train journey, but I want my viewers to experience the impact of the engulfing vastness of these landscapes. The people, the economic power play, the politics, the disappearing indigenous cultures -- there are countless fascinating aspects attached to the landscape. I try to make the viewers face them,” he adds, as he talks about his
A winner of the KCC Art fellowship and CIMA Awards, Suman’s immersive solo show will be dominated mostly by paintings apart from a few photographs, sculptures, installation and a display video. Also, there will be some experimental works made by exposing the paper to toxic underground gas in the coal mines. “I have later put paint on the treated paper to finish the composition, so, technically, they can be considered as mixed media paintings too. In my other canvas and paper paintings, I have used materials like coal dust, brick dust, marble dust, and sand along with more conventional mediums like charcoal, graphite, dry pigments, dust colours, ink, water colours and acrylic paint,” elaborates the artist.
Deeply influenced by Bengal’s art giants Benodebehari Mukherjee and Nandalal Bose’s renditions of landscapes, Suman’s engagement with the coal mine landscape is far from over. “There’re still new avenues to explore. The people and politics of coal mines still need a lot of my attention as an artist. I am enjoying the process thoroughly,” he says.
Digging deeper, Suman has come across a fast-eroding local culture that has a visual history dating back to 10,000 BC. “My upcoming works will be on these Sohrai paintings. Silent Vision captures a few of my very first attempts to that but I am planning to expand this work in the upcoming days,” concludes Suman.
Silent Vision will be on display at CIMA till August 19.